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Media Center > Speeches > HON. PM BAINIMARAMA'S SPEECH AT THE AFTER- MATCH FUNCTION OF INVESTEC SUPER RUGBY - GALLAGHER CHIEFS

HON. PM BAINIMARAMA'S SPEECH AT THE AFTER- MATCH FUNCTION OF INVESTEC SUPER RUGBY - GALLAGHER CHIEFS VS BNZ CRUSADERS

6/1/2019
Bula vinaka, boys –– we’re very happy to have you back in Fiji for what, once again, proved to be a thrilling night for Super Rugby fans here, back in New Zealand, and around the world.

On behalf of Fijians everywhere, I can say that it has truly been a joy to host the Gallagher Chiefs for this home game as you took on the BNZ Crusaders, for a rematch of the very first Investec Rugby Match that was held in Suva back in 2016.

Congratulations to both teams for a hard-fought match, and of course, Gallagher Chiefs for your big win.

To both teams, your time in Fiji may have been short, but it probably hasn’t taken you long to realise that your impact here goes far beyond the rugby field.

The greatest impact of having superstars like the Chiefs and the Crusaders here in Fiji doesn’t come from points on the board; it comes from the inspiration that you instill in our people, particularly the young rugby fans who look up to you with such admiration.

That’s why I’m particularly proud of the off-the-field outreach that we witnessed in the days prior to this match. By taking the time to interact with fans, signing autographs, and visiting our schools, your presence will be felt here among our people long after you’ve returned to New Zealand.

There’s something special, and almost indescribable, about the energy that this match brings to our country every year. It’s probably unlike any that you’ll ever play –– and I’m confident that it can be traced directly back to the sense of awed excitement that Fijians have when they get to see you in person.

Know that those Fijian boys and girls watch you with great respect, and that your footprint here is large and it is lasting. But you’ve spent your time in Fiji using your celebrity as platform for good; simple acts like the Chiefs planting mangroves at the Pacific Harbour Multicultural School have made you true ambassadors for Fiji, and shown that you share a common commitment with my Government’s vision for a more sustainable future. I ask that you continue to carry that same attitude with you throughout your professional rugby careers and beyond.

You can leave Fiji knowing that you have undoubtedly inspired young Fijian boys and girls who were watching –– maybe here in Suva or far across the nation in a rural community –– to pursue rugby with renewed passion. To follow a healthier and more active lifestyles. To chase the dream that each of you have achieved. And for that, I thank you.

I hope that this feeling proves to be mutual, and your time here in Fiji –– and that the Fijian hospitality you’ve experienced ¬–– will stay with you for the rest of your lives.

Thank you again for making this a match to remember.

To wrap up, I would like to extend a special round of thanks to all those who made today’s match possible.

• Thank you to the international rugby community for the support they’ve given to Fiji, allowing us to host this match for the fourth year running;
• Thank you to the match promoters;
• Thank you to both teams for an excellent display of 15s rugby tonight;
• Thank you to the Steering Committee and Secretariat for their hard work to coordinate an event of this scale;
• Thank you to all the Government ministries, agencies and schools that participated;
• Thank you to all local partners for both your financial support and your role in delivering a well-run event;
• Thank you to all local media partners for helping share this captivating event with audiences across Fiji and around the world;
• Thank you to the 250 generous volunteers who put in the hard hours to help our Secretariat deliver another historic match in Fiji; and finally,
• Thank you to all the spectators and fans who watched from home, and a big vinaka to those attended in person bringing a passion that, as always, created a fantastic atmosphere here at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

Vinaka vakalevu, kia ora, and thank you.
 
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